2019 has finally arrived, and your social network platforms have updated their services once again to offer new features to enhance the experience. Instagram is the one that managed to stand out just before 2018 closed down. The move so far seemed to pay off for them as many community managers, marketing services, and big brands scored big sales using these new settings to stand out in the now-closed holiday season.
Let’s take a look at the new things you can find on Instagram right now
Alternative Text Descriptions
This particular feature was already a very successful tool used by bloggers, web designers and SEO strategists. It works pretty simple: you place a description of the events taking place at your picture or video in a specific place. The tool is pretty useful to offer context to your posts and to help sight-impaired people get an idea of what it’s going on.
Any user can set their account to use automatic alternative text. The feature manages to use some of the most accurate object recognition technology to date to create detailed audio descriptions by itself. Of course, there is also the option of doing it yourself. While the tech proved to be functional for the purposes of this review, it also showed a few limitations.
The feature can be enabled to explore feeds and individual profiles alike. It’s only activated when the user engaging the content clicks on the photo or video to appreciate it. As we said previously you can create your own descriptions. It certainly takes more time, but it gives accuracy to the message you want to send out and allows you to focus the attention of the post where you want it to be.
The only dark spot in text descriptions so far, is that is not available to handle the internal search engine of Instagram at the moment, and the situation is unlikely to change in the future since the platform is essentially visually based. Alt Image still works as the go-to method to quickly locate something on Instagram. Don’t get us wrong though, the feature is a big deal and makes every IG post that uses it more accessible for wider audiences.
Instagram accounts certainly look a bit different now in 2019, most of these changes are cosmetic as new interfaces were introduced, as well as a few new icons, and additional buttons and tabs. The most noticeable one is the “mutual followers” option that allows you to see the followers you have in common with another account just as it can be done on Facebook.
There is also a “shop” tab that will be located at the top right of your profile, you can click on it, and it will lead you to online shops that are set to your interests and based on your history search on the platform. The practice has been a longstanding way to implement cookies and personal data, so try not to be too freaked out when you see a lot of appealing stuff in this part of the timeline.
Voice Messages in Privates Direct Messages
Instagram is arriving late to the party of voice messages. Most social networks have this feature in place for quite some time now. Sister company Facebook has it available since 2016, and now is finally Instagram turn to offer this option. As is customary with communicational apps, the feature can be used in direct chats and groups with messages limited to one minute or less.
The main difference that makes voice messages in Instagram stand out over similar services is the fact that these cannot be erased from the chat log. IG messaging has been known for being very buggy when it comes to keeping records of old messages. It looks like these problems have been fixed on this regard.
Private users might do well to remember this, but new markets strategists could find themselves on a tight spot if they use lost DMs as a part of any kind of strategy to bring awareness to a brand with urgency to target quick sales or if they are offering discounts and special events. We certainly recognize the fact that most marketing campaigns are still based on visual elements, so the warning goes out to those who wish to innovate old sales tactics.
Listed Stories for Close Friends
Just as it happens with Facebook posts, now you can manage the number of people who can actually see a story published on your temporary status by creating targeted lists where only tagged people can see it. While we see a lot of potential for disruptive use on this feature, it can certainly work out for the best for business who want to engage their regulars with special offers or dedicated posts.
2018 was one of the biggest year for Instagram, and 2019 is shaping nicely to be very good too as the platform is looking to expand their services. Be on the lookout to notice anything new and make sure to share it us to review it in a future post.